It's the New Year, and this week, we are starting a new series we are calling, "The Greatest Commandment." When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” a response was,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Maybe we’ve heard this before, but do we understand it? Do we believe it? How can we grow in our ability to do it? Over these seven Sundays, from January 8 to February 19, we’ll review seven keys from the greatest commandments, and imagine how to live and love as God calls us.
Jan 8 Love the Lord
Jan 15 Love with Heart
Jan 22 Love with Soul
Jan 29 Love with Mind
Feb 5 Love with Strength
Feb 12 Love Neighbor
Feb 19 Love Self
With the New Year and new series, you'll notice a few other new things too.
When you enter, you'll be given a new bulletin. Our bulletin is the first expression of our church to a visitor, so we've changed our language and format to catch their attention, welcome them, and guide them through each part of worship. We've also realized our congregation prefers spoken and paper communications over email or social media, so the new bulletin has more weekly reminders and upcoming announcements. Last, our former bulletins required special formatting and folding. The new bulletin is standard paper and is automatically assembled by our copier.
We've updated the order of worship as well. Worship gathers us from the chaos of our world and lives to God and one another, feeds us with honesty and truth from God's words, then sends us out with hope and energy to change the world with God. The new order of worship reflects this wave, from higher to lower and up again. Lower things, like softer preludes or somber prayers, are moved toward the middle of worship. Higher things, like congregational songs and passionate prayers, are moved to the beginning and end of worship.
We are also starting a group for visitors, regular attendees, or anyone who'd like to know more about this church, our beliefs, and our purpose. The group meets Sundays after worship from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. This January, invite someone new to worship with you. Have them sit with you. Introduce them to the pastors and others. Tell them about this group.
New sermons series. New worship bulletin. New order of worship. New visitors. It's going to be a very good new year!
Blessing, Laughter, and Loving be yours,
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert